Lingnan students warn burgeoning numbers threaten education quality

Lingnan student group calls for scrutiny to ensure quality maintained

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 October, 2012, 3:49am

A student group has called on the government to increase scrutiny of sub-degree programmes to prevent "chaos" at tertiary institutions that could jeopardise the quality of education.

The call came as the Concern CCLU and LIFE Action Group submitted a formal complaint to the Legislative Council yesterday about alleged over-enrolment at the two non-degree colleges operated by Lingnan University.

The university confirmed yesterday that 7,100 students had been enrolled this year at the Community College at Lingnan University (CCLU) and Lingnan Institute of Further Education (LIFE).

This included 5,300 new students, three times the number admitted last year, group spokesman Chao Suet-ying said.

Chao said the government must step up its scrutiny of self-financed sub-degree programmes because administrative "chaos" could jeopardise the quality of education and Hong Kong's reputation as an education hub.

The university's student union leader Chan Shu-fai said there had been cases reported from both colleges where students found a lack of chairs in classes that had been unexpectedly expanded.

In another example of the problem, he said, a lecturer had had to repeat the class content five times for one batch of students because of a lack of teaching venues to hold all of them at once.

The university on Monday announced the establishment of a five-member committee to investigate the enrolments - at the same time as it was announced that university president Chan Yuk-shee had resigned for health reasons.

Both Chan and university council chairman Bernard Chan rejected any suggestion of a link between his resignation and the enrolments controversy .

Chan Yuk-shee said: "I have been involved in university administration for more than 20 years and I'm turning 60 next year. I've been thinking it's time to adjust my life and work plans."

But Chan Shu-fair said the president may be facing a lot of pressure over student numbers.

The government has in recent years expanded the capacity of the city's tertiary institutions to provide more sub-degree programmes as part of education reform aimed at life-long learning.

The Education Bureau said that this year there were 37,500 sub-degree places available for those who failed to get into universities.